In an effort to tackle the organ donor shortage, researchers in the United States have successfully created part-human, part-pig embryos and implanted them into a sow. Eventually, these animals could act as incubators for human organs, which concerns some ethicists.
Using genetic techniques and a chemical cocktail, scientists managed to sustain a pig’s heart inside a baboon for 945 days, establishing a new benchmark for cross-species transplantation. If extended to humans, the technique could be used to ease the ongoing organ shortage.
In news that sounds straight out of a dystopian Margaret Atwood novel, surgeons managed to keep a genetically modified pig heart alive inside a baboon for 945 days before it failed last month. “Xenotransplantation” experiments like this may one day lead to doctors raising pigs for organ transplants.